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  • 2/28: Night Rider

    Kevin visits Animal Kingdom after dark, More... Discuss it here...

    DIRECT ARTICLE LINK: Night Rider - MiceAge.com
    "Politics is the profession whereby the inevitable is made to seem a great human achievement" - Quentin Crisp

  • #2
    Re: 2/28: Night Rider

    On my last visit to EPCOT, my wife and I stayed late for extra magic hours and had seen the last showing of the American Adventure. I can say from personal experience, it was DARK and vacant walking around the World Showcase to get back to the Future World exit and we did not see a single soul as we made our way around the world. It felt like we got locked in the supermarket after hours only, it wasn't a supermarket... it was EPCOT! We did eventually see people at Mouse Gears, which was still open and packed with people at 1am. Walking through EPCOT at night was a very fun expereince and I recommend to anyone staying at the resort during EMH to experience it.

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    • #3
      Re: 2/28: Night Rider

      Nice article Kevin.

      1. Considering Animal Kingdom having no night time spectacular, this is by design as the park is also a zoo and they purposely didn't add a fireworks show as it would disturb the animals. Sadly, a night time parade would probably be pretty loud, and could possibly disturb the animals.

      2. Avatarland isn't a done deal in that Disney could back out given the lukewarm response to the building of Avatarland. Sometimes Disney just 'floats' these ideas to see what the public thinks of it, like the princess heavy FLE.

      3. There are a couple of choices when it comes to closing a park. You could close early, when there are moderate to modest crowds, or you could close later when there is a trickle. It is much more guest friendly to close when there is a trickle, when most guests have left of their own accord. It is sad to see ODV locations open in Animal Kingdom at night when some restaurants in DCA have trouble opening in the middle of the day when there are plenty of customers.

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      • #4
        Re: 2/28: Night Rider

        I was curious to know what time the photos were taken and if it was and EMH night? I love how beautiful everything looks!

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        • #5
          Re: 2/28: Night Rider

          The animals are pretty far back there. I think a parade would be do-able.

          These photos were taken 9 days ago from 7pm until 8pm (not an EMH night; the park closed at 8pm). What you see here has been post-processed (most of the pics in my weekly articles are); the original shading is even darker/dimmer in the walkways in spots where there are no lamps.
          Kevin Yee
          MiceAge Columnist

          I am the author of several Disney books:
          Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
          Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
          Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
          Mouse Trap
          Tokyo Disney Made Easy
          101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
          Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

          “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

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          • #6
            Re: 2/28: Night Rider

            One more question, how late did the safari run??

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            • #7
              Re: 2/28: Night Rider

              Safari still closes at dusk, I think. It was definitely closed by 7pm. In fact, the gorilla walk and the train were closed too; the whole section was empty and off limits.
              Kevin Yee
              MiceAge Columnist

              I am the author of several Disney books:
              Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
              Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
              Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
              Mouse Trap
              Tokyo Disney Made Easy
              101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
              Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

              “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: 2/28: Night Rider

                Thanks! We will be at WDW March 7 - 17 and I'm definitely thinking about making an afternoon/nighttime trip to AK after reading your report!

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                • #9
                  Re: 2/28: Night Rider

                  DAK is without a doubt the most beautiful park after dark. I always make it a point to visit on the extra magic hours night when available. It's like a special, rare treat. So true that WDW over-lights most areas. The worst offenders are the resort pools. Hideous! Beautifully themed areas become city park recreation centers after dark with those massive white sodium-whatever lights. How long ago were those installed? I seem to remember a nicer, subdued lighting scheme in my earlier years of visiting.
                  Please consider the environment before printing useless emails

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                  • #10
                    Re: 2/28: Night Rider

                    As long as guests have the option of park-hopping to Epcot for Illuminations or the Magic Kingdom for a parade and/or Wishes, I'm afraid that's exactly what they're going to do with their evenings.
                    That's what I do.
                    Start the day in the Animal Kingdom or Disney Hollywood Studios, then finish the day at Epcot or MK.

                    As for DHS, I don't want any part of it later in the day -- especially on Fantasmic! days.

                    The Animal Kingdom definitely needs a marquee evening event -- something that can only be seen at night -- if they want guests to stay in the park (or even park-hop in from other parks). Merely keeping the park open later is not going to do it.

                    Perhaps, "Avatarland" could open later in the day, and be the anchor to draw guests in for the evening and stay through a later park closing?
                    I strongly suspect that, whatever they do with Avatar, it would be much better in the dark.

                    Clearly, Disney will have to do something to beef-up attendance numbers to justify a large investment with Avatar. It does them absolutely no good to spend $300-400-500 million to build "Avatarland," only to have guests come early in the day to see it, then continue to leave the park early to head to other destinations. And this is exactly what the guests will do, particularly if "Avatarland" is anywhere towards the front of the park.
                    Big investment for no increase to the bottom-line -- and no benefit towards spreading the guests out across all the parks.
                    Indeed, WDW is going to have to find a way to draw guests out of the MK once the Fantasyland expansion kicks-in (i.e. you can't keep putting all the NEW guest traffic into the MK).

                    Turning the AK into a full-day park, with nighttime hours, is going to be a difficult task and require a substantial investment. Changes that are made to make the transition will need to be sustained over several years, and I just don't see the bean-counters willing to maintain the commitment it will take.

                    I would certainly like to see them succeed at turning the AK into a full-day park, with nighttime hours.
                    When you think about it, it's an awful waste of themepark capacity to continue to allow the AK to remain as underutilized as it now is.
                    If WDW is going to show a net increase in attendance numbers, they can't keep over-crowding the guests into the other parks -- especially with the current bean-counter tactics of late openings, early closings, inadequate dining options and "Temporarily Closed; Operates Seasonally" sleights-of-hand cost cutting and reduction of man-hour labor costs.

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                    • #11
                      Re: 2/28: Night Rider

                      Love the after dark pics, especially of the Forbidden Mountain and the Ladybug lights!I am really surprised Disney is keeping the AK open late at all anymore. Last time I was there a year ago, they still had one extra magic hours night there, but unfortunately we were not going to be in AK that day, and didn't have park hoppers. Not long after that, I thought I saw they had completely done away with the Extra Magic Hours at AK. And for good reason I think. The two times I have been to AK, we show up first thing in the morning, and then feel like we have "done it all" but early afternoon. Sure, you can re-ride a few things (and we did that too by early afternoon), but otherwise, there really isn't a reason to stay into the evening. And why would you want to when half of the park seemingly closed down anyway? Judging by the pictures in this article, even when it is open late, not that many people stick around. So why would Disney pay all those employees to stay late when very few guests do? I agree that a night-time parade could work, in the front half of the park, and eventually, another land, such as Avatar-land, or preferably Beastly Kingdom, could really be geared to work well at night. Just curious, was Expedition Everest running at night? Seems like the screams and noise from that would bother animals if anything would.

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                      • #12
                        Re: 2/28: Night Rider

                        No question that DAK is a heightened experience at night. When I worked there I regularly closed safari meaning that we were around for an hour or so after the attraction closed. Great to walk through that park after sundown. Beautiful.
                        I worked at Walt Disney World as a member of the Disney College Program in Spring 2008 and Summer 2010. Now, I build software, design live events, and frequently make the short trek from Costa Mesa to Disneyland with my Annual Passport in hand.

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                        • #13
                          Re: 2/28: Night Rider

                          We were lucky enough to be in AK after dark during the 2011 Magic and Merriment event. It was amazing and very magical. I would recommend everyone do it once, even if its just to stroll around for a bit. I've heard through the grapevine that one of the reasons AK isn't open later more regularly is because it's a BIG location for after hours events like weddings and corporate functions. Disney makes a lot of money off of those events.

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                          • #14
                            Re: 2/28: Night Rider

                            Re: The change in sign-in policy, I think the change has come about because some CMs have been abusing it, accepting cash or other gifts in exchange for signing in friends of friends or complete strangers. A few bad apples spoil it for everyone else.
                            The Right Honorable Count Boogie Bonz of Random, at your service.

                            On Track for Weight Loss!

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                            • #15
                              Re: 2/28: Night Rider

                              Originally posted by KevinYee View Post
                              The animals are pretty far back there. I think a parade would be do-able.

                              These photos were taken 9 days ago from 7pm until 8pm (not an EMH night; the park closed at 8pm). What you see here has been post-processed (most of the pics in my weekly articles are); the original shading is even darker/dimmer in the walkways in spots where there are no lamps.
                              While a lot of the animals are back in the Africa part of the park, other animals exhibits are close to some possible parade routes. Plus, parades are pretty loud, at least most Disney styled parades used pumped in music and such and this could potentially disturb the animals. They shutdown the Safari ride early, even if the park is open later, so that the animals can rest. Disney doesn't want the park to lose its image as being a well run zoo.

                              But another big reason why you probably won't see a night-time parade is the design of Animal Kingdom itself. The imagineers in charge wanted paths to be really winding so that guests could "explore" the park, and so that it had the adventureland feel. There aren't a lot of clear landmarks (besides the Tree O'Life), and it is easy to get lost during the day. I can be set down in pretty much any Disney park and tell guests how many steps to the nearest bathroom, but a couple years ago I lost in AK at night! It took me a couple minutes to get my bearings.

                              Meaning . . . guests will get lost, have a hard time finding the parade route, plus there isn't anywhere to sit down. Parades don't stream down the crowded Adventureland corridor in DL for a very good reason.

                              Now this might very well change should Avatarland be built (I doubt it at this point). The entrance to Animal Kingdom could be redesigned into an Australian outback type village thing . . . bear with me here, this would be AK's main street, but more importantly, it would be a straight street, more or less, up to the Tree of Life, plus a parade route which could be used for parades at dusk. (Think of World of Color on floats with multicolored lights and all sorts of animal characters.)

                              Should Avatarland get built (don't hold your breathe), then the Kuranda Village/Outback Bazaar, may well be built and the entrance of AK expanded down a bit, with a "village square" at both ends to accomodate parade viewing. There would be a big sign out front "Kuranda Village, population 30 humans, 400 koalas, . . . something to let people know where Kuranda Village is so that when parade time comes they can wander back there. It would be more or less a straight shoot down to the Tree of Life, and would be as long as Main Street, albeit heavily themed with stuff from Australia, including a plane crashed into the roof of a restaurant.

                              Guest: Where is the six o'clock parade?
                              CM: Kuranda Village, (Kuranda Outpost, Outback Bazaar . . . )
                              Guest: Where's that?
                              CM: That's the entrance of the park, there's the big koala bear made out of wood there, you probably passed by the barbecue restaurant on the way in?
                              Guest: Oh yeah . . .
                              Last edited by chesirecat; 02-28-2012, 02:00 PM.

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